Simulations in biology can be very useful in explaining and demonstrating concepts. They can also make very successful IAs if the recommendations listed earlier in this book are followed. Netlogo is the recommend simulation for biology due to the quality of the simulations, the number of variables and the ability of the program to generate variation so that the same result is not given every time. This allows for multiple trials and standard deviation to be calculated. The list below is a curated list of the best, mostly free, simulations.

Image: Science in HD, Unsplash, 2019.


IB Topics

IA Simulations


Enzymes, natural selection, evolution, immunology, infectious diseases, ecology, climate change

Yes, this is the gold standard for biology simulations. This playlist gives a few ideas.

Yes, there are a huge number of simulations that could be used.

Genetics, epigenetics, digestion, flowering plants, neurons and neurobiology


great visualizations and animations

Neurons, gene expression, natural selection



Various topics

Yes, there are a number of simulations that would work.

Yes, great simulations ranging from biochemistry to ecology.

Ecology, evolution,

genetics, proteins

Possibly, there are a huge number of simulations that could be adapted.

Yes, there are a huge number of simulations that could be used.

Genetics, immunity, neurons and neurobiology

Possibly, the lab simulations, while a bit tedious, could be adapted to an IA.

Yes, excellent set of resources to develop students analysis skills for data analysis questions and the IA.



Yes, a great introduction to microscopes if you are working virtually.

Gelbox (Mac only)

Gel electrophoresis

Yes, allows students to manipulate a number of variables.

Yes, great for teaching the basics of genetics.

Genetics, evolution and heredity

Yes, some of the simulations could be used for IA work.

Yes, natural selection and heredity simulations can be used for learning.

Last updated